Here at Connotation Press, nearly all of our staff are academics. We live on the nine month plan. I would say it’s vacation time except as any writer/teacher knows, summer is rarely a vacation. It’s the time when we can work on our own writing without the distractions of grading papers and attending meetings and generally pledging our time to our students.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Teaching can be an amazing experience, and it’s one for which I am very grateful. But to be honest, after the spring semester ends I just want to crawl under the blankets for about a month—a feeling I think is shared with a lot of other teachers. For that reason we’ve decided to slow down a bit for summer.
In the nine months we’ve been online Connotation Press has published over 340 artists. We’ve published future Nobel Prize winners, a United States Poet Laureate, and an outstanding list of American and international poets, playwrights, and storytellers. We went from no readership to over 10,000 unique visitors a month from over 88 countries. And we’re tired! Ha!
Now don’t get me wrong, we’ll still be bringing you excellent artists throughout the summer, but, perhaps, just a bit less numbers of them than normal—same quality, just less quantity.
For instance, I am proud to say our Featured Artist of the Month is Doug Anderson. I have been a devoted fan of Mr. Anderson’s work for well over ten years. His voice, subject matter, and intimacy remind me of the way my Uncle Mike used to talk to me on those long hauls in his diesel truck. Honest, without pretense or posturing, his is the whisper across the cab of a truck you lean in to hear. Thanks, Doug!
Not long ago Robin Russin, one of the most generous and kind individuals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting throughout this magazine experience, contacted me to say he was teaching a class at the University of California, Riverside full of brilliant students. The focus of the class was writing with an emphasis on noir, and after reading their work and looking at the pile of essays and stories they’d compiled, he felt it a shame that their great work would simply end with a grade. He asked if I’d be interested in running a column of student essays on noir and stories influenced by their studies. Here at Connotation Press we do everything we can to be supportive of emerging writers. It is the main reason I started this magazine in the first place, so of course I said yes!
Robin brought us new essays by Jessi Sundell Cramer, Sara Green, Leonid Leonov, David Lopez, Alison Minami, SR Mishler, Eric Montgomery, Adam Pelavin, Bala Rajasekharuni, Eric Shonkwiler, Val Stulman, and Vicki Barras. Additionally, Alison, SR, Adam, Eric, and Vicki gave us new noir influenced fiction, as well. We could not be happier. For you teachers out there, as much as we love publishing the big names we love publishing great student work. We hope you’ll one day consider doing something like Robin has done. And how great is it he went out of his way to help his students? Thank you so much Robin and thanks to the MFA students at my undergrad alma mater. You guys rock!
Of course, even in a slow summer period we’re not finished yet. Ethel Morgan Smith gave us a terrific creative nonfiction piece. This was the last piece our friend and former creative nonfiction editor Katie Fallon vetted and we’re so grateful for all the hard work she’s done here at Connotation Press. Ms. Smith’s work is refreshingly honest and always interesting, and we’re always happy to publish a great writer with a fierce backswing! See you on the courts, Ethel! Additionally, our creative nonfiction column has new work from Kelly Sundberg. Her piece “Two Atlanta’s” should not be missed.
From Plate to Palate with Amanda McGuire this month focuses on the Farmer’s Market. How cool is that?! I love the thematic direction Amanda has been taking her column. And this one is especially cool. She’s brought us the Farmer’s Market experience through the eyes of Arielle Greenberg, Arlan Hess, Kaite Hillenbrand, Andrea Iglar, Brian Schlatter, and Gary & Rebecca Luginbill. After reading this month’s From Plate to Palate I found myself crawling out of bed at 6:00AM (roughly an hour after going to bed!) to head down to our local Farmer’s Market here in Morgantown, which was a great experience. Thanks to Amanda and all her contributors.
Drama Editor Joshua Fardon brings us yet another in his list of off-the-hook, who’s who in playwriting. This month it’s Phinneas Kiyomura. Mr. Kiyomura writes for the stage, television, and film, and we’re absolutely thrilled to have him. I especially like the fact that he’s not afraid to write nudity onto the stage. It’s about time, right? I mean, watching folks perform “Hair” in body stockings can only work for so long. HA! Thanks Josh and Thank You, Phinneas!
Finally, Travel Editor Nicholas Baker takes us this month to a castle in York! Oh, man I am so jealous of NICK! How do I get that job? Nick and Freddy travel world-wide on a weekly basis and always seem to be having so much fun. I really like the column this month, and the pictures are gorgeous. Thanks Nick! Your column is quickly becoming a fan favorite (it’s already one of mine!).
It’s clear we haven’t completely stopped hammering it out this summer. And we have no intention of ever stopping—summer or not. But we hope by bringing you a grip of longer fiction, creative nonfiction, and essay offerings we can get you launched on your summer reading.
Thanks again to all our editors here at Connotation Press and all our readers and contributors that have made our experience here an exceptional one.
Connotation Press: Summertime and the Livin’ Is Easy
This issue of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact is dedicated to the incomparable Lena Horne. We lost Ms Horne on May 9th and we’ll always be indebted to this unbelievably talented singer, actress, civil rights activist and dancer. From the Cotton Club to Sesame Street, from TV to Broadway, Ms. Horne lit up every stage she ever set foot on. My grandfather had a huge crush on her, and so did I. We will forever miss this eight time Grammy Award winner, Tony Award winner, and NAACP Image Award winner. Time to revisit Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather. Rest in Peace songbird.